Macron v Le Pen

So, it’s Macron versus Le Pen, then. In the next two weeks Macron is going to find himself fellated by the European political Establishment and media to such a degree that Barack Obama will feel jealous. Indeed, so hyperbolic will be the accolades leading up to the election that people might be put off voting for him out of pure embarrassment. He is going to be held up as the single person preventing Nuremberg-style rallies being held at the Stade de France every weekend from July onwards, and the saviour of Europe. If the roles were reversed and it were Le Pen who they adored, she would grace front pages of newspapers decked out in white armour.

What’s interesting is foreign heads of state aren’t even pretending to be disinterested any more:

Many European leaders have been congratulating Mr Macron on the first round results – as they are keen to strengthen the union after Brexit.

Mr Macron addressed the nation in front of an EU flag as the results came in – something noticed by both pro and anti-EU politicians.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffan Seibert, tweeted: “It’s good that Emmanuel Macron was successful with his course for a strong EU and social market economy. All the best for the next two weeks.”

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker also congratulated him, as did EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

“The result is the hope and future of our generation,” she tweeted.

Are these people interested in France or the EU?

What’s also interesting is the media still haven’t got their story straight on Macron yet. The original version of the BBC’s article that I linked to had him down as “an outsider”. They’ve since changed this to “newcomer”, presumably when people pointed out that he was about as much an outsider as Ryan Giggs was when he took over at Man Utd at the back-end of the 2013-14 season.

Mr Macron was current President Francois Hollande’s economy minister but quit to create his own party, En Marche, which pushes a liberal, pro-EU agenda.

Even “newcomer” is pushing it. The truth is, the entire France political Establishment in France is set up quite deliberately to exclude outsiders from rising within it, and the same is true for business, the civil service, and anything else deemed important. To progress within these organisations one must come from the grande écoles, and to get the highest positions one must have finished close to the top of the class. The scores somebody gets when at these institutions is something that gets looked and their entire career; I have seen a French company phone book from the mid nineties that had beneath the name of each person the school they went to and the score they got. The chances of an outsider getting to where Macron has found himself in France are precisely nil. Even Le Pen was born into a political household to a father who was known everywhere. She’s no outsider either.

As for his policies: a liberal, pro-EU agenda and promises of economic and social reforms is what damned near every French politician has run on since I can remember. The economic reforms fail at the first sign of protest from the unions, and the social reforms don’t address serious issues such as immigration, terrorism, and collapsing rural communities but stuff like this:

Ban on mobile phone use in schools for under-15s and a €500 culture pass for 18 year olds

France can’t stop people murdering gendarmes on the Champs-Élysées with AK-47s but they are going to police kids bringing phones into schools. Uh-huh.

Macron sounds like another Tony Blair, promising “big tent” centre-ground policies to appease everybody but the fringes thus ensuring his election but, lacking principles or conviction, not being able to deliver on anything. Blair promised “Education, Education, Education” and “tough on the causes of crime” and instead we got micromanagement, a massive increase in the public sector, petty meddling, authoritarianism, paternalism, and an erosion of civil liberties. And after ten years kids still couldn’t read or write and the jails were still full.

France needs this about as much as they need another German invasion. I am sure Macron will win thanks to people feeling they have little other choice; Le Pen represents change, has grasped the immigration nettle, and at least appears to like France more than the EU but her economic policy is no solution for anything. A Macron win will be seen by the European and French policial Establishments as a full endorsement of the status quo and Macron’s muddle-headed policies, and France will be subject to another four years of “more of the same”. Macron’s popularity will collapse and the usual plethora of corruption allegations will surface, and we’ll go through the whole pantomime again next time around.

Things don’t change easily in France.


12 thoughts on “Macron v Le Pen

  1. I bet there’s some sleepless nights being had in French polling companies right now. When they’re asking people who they intend to vote for in the next round they may have to guess a coefficient to apply to all those who say Macron.

    I think it’s not unreasonable to think that people are less likely to openly support Le Pen, yet a fifth of the voters did. If you asked a hundred people in the street, how many would admit to that? Nowhere near 20 of them, probably.

    I didn’t call Brexit,Trump or the Dutch election correctly so, based on that stunning track record, take my prediction that Macron will beat Le Pen by double digits with a large dose of caveat emptor.

    It doesn’t matter though, of course, as Le Pen has already made the point that the status quo can’t stand and the “unaparty” consensus politics era is over for most western democracies. The career politicians either accept that now and adapt or risk far worse versions of Brexit, Trump, et al.

  2. Trump’s margins in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania were razor-thin – about 100,000 votes in total, less than 1% of the votes cast. Had Clinton won these three, she’d have had 273 electors, above the required 270. It wasn’t pure luck, but luck played a huge role there.

    One particularly unfortunate poll had Remain winning with 55% just before the referendum, so they were off by 7 points. But even a 7-point poll error won’t propel Le Pen to the presidency.

  3. Trump’s margins in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania were razor-thin – about 100,000 votes in total, less than 1% of the votes cast. Had Clinton won these three, she’d have had 273 electors, above the required 270. It wasn’t pure luck, but luck played a huge role there.

    If only they’d said that instead of predicting that Hillary would win by a mile and a half. The clowns at Huffington post had her with a 98% chance of winning on the eve of the election.

  4. The elite schooling system is a very effective way of controlling society and the French haute bourgeois do it very well in producing their elite. I first noticed this character trait in certain Frenchman when I worked alongside Suez Environment and then again just last week when I attended a meeting called by Alstom in Sydney. Their legal counsel and I were the only Aussies in the room, the chairman, a young, very French looking guy struck me as one of those types the minute e met and shook hands. He is going places in Alstom and he knew it.

    As for the eventual result, let’s just see what happens. I said earlier on here that it will take something like a French 9/11 to swing it Le Pen’s way. I still think this, so if the agent provocateur’s ramp it up in the next couple of weeks, then we will know that they are doing this in an attempt to influence the result in favour of Le Pen. And if they do go big, then she might be victorious.

  5. You’ve completely given in to the American use of “liberal” to mean ‘illiberal in a leftish Establishment way’. Even more than in Britain, on the Continent ‘liberal’ referred to people who believed in political liberty and free markets. When was there last a French politician who was liberal in that classical sense? Has there ever been one?

  6. I have long held that BREXIT will damage the UK more than it does the EU (who as far as I can tell seem to be ‘good riddance to bad rubbish’ about our leaving). However a FREXIT would destroy it. Infact a FREXIT or a GEREXIT (DEXIT?) are the only two ‘exits’ that could. Everything else is… *insert gallic shrug*.

    I don’t see Le Pen winning, as much as I would love seeing a smoker in power. The French system handily leaves enough space of time between the two polls to allow for the candidates to fuck up (look at the AfD in Germany) and to be honest the French have always regarded the EU as their own neo-colony. I should imagine the prospect of the loss of the CAP will focus rural minds dans les Pays.
    But what do I know? The last Frenchman to make any sense to me was Asterix.

  7. Thanks for your comment on Brexit while discussing the French election, Blocked Dwarf. Like all remoaners it’s just another excuse to wheel out the tired “At heart I’m a traitor” stuff along with the fact that you’d prefer the British Isles to be governed by lefties in Belgian cities overrun by terrorists.

    Would Frexit bring down the EU? Doubt it. For that to happen it would take Berlin to stop wanting to run Europe. The EU did exist I would concede to make French farmers feel good about themselves but I imagine they could go on farming without Brussels’ interference. But hey, such fiddling, corruption and interference was good for Britain, right?

  8. RE: endorsements – Trump has all-but endorsed Le Pen as well. Vladimir Putin’s displeasure with the election’s likely outcome may also be divined from RT and other Russian state media’s pushing of dubious stories about people demonstrating against the results.

    I don’t believe any foreign leaders should be congratulating anyone about a first-round win whilst there is still a chance on another person winning, but let’s not pretend that Le Pen doesn’t have some pretty rancid overseas connections which are hard to square with the idea that she cares much for France.

  9. The FN won quite a few departments. The Socialists, none.
    So come 2022 there will probably be a small bloc of FN members in the National Assembly. Currently dominated by the losers, who will hobble Macron at every turn.

    Le Pen’s dad was a joke, a protest vote. (Funny guy, bad jokes.) But this time round a lot of people really did want her to win.

    An FN president in 2022? Don’t write it off.

  10. “Like all remoaners ”

    Nope, neither a remoaner nor one of the xenophobic Little Englanders. Didn’t vote in the plebis-cide because I fundamentally disagree with them on principle, they are poison for a democracy -even one as broken as ours. My personal preference would be to have kept the status quo simply because I am smoker first and foremost, that’s my nationality, my creed and my community. Brexit will bring UK smokers only more persecution.
    I don’t hate England at heart, it is simply is no longer my country since Blair took it away from me. But I’m just grateful that my kids, for once, took their dear old dad’s advice and renewed their German passports.
    Would a FREXIT end the EU? Well it seems that just about every EU leader thinks so, judging by the good wishes and praise they have heaped on Macron today. Indeed Juncker has unusually candid- something along the lines of Macron is the only possible candidate as far the EU is concerned I think? Whilst the German MSM goes out of it’s way to refer to Le Penn as ‘extreme right wing’ and makes sure the talking heads assuage German fears by pronouncing the next French President will be a 39 year old new comer.

  11. Macron because of his cosiness with Angela and his Europhilia is being seen by some in France as Vice-Chancellor of Germany.

    Neither Macron nor Le Pen have any Parliamentary support – 3 seats between them, so in that sense they will be lame-duck presidents.

    Latest buzz in France is many voters do not want either and will stay home, which will be to the advantage of Le Pen who has a strong base whereas inside-outer/newcomer Macron has no base.

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